Dr Daniel Steffens BPhty(Hons), PhD – Deputy Director

Dr Daniel Steffens is the Deputy Director of the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe). At SOuRCe, Dr Steffens manage and supervise a large research team working in the following flagship surgical programs: Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgical Program (including Pelvic Exenteration, Peritonectomy, Advanced Upper Gastrointestinal and Sarcoma), Surgical Robotics Program, Orthopaedic and the Vascular Surgical Research Program.

Dr Steffens is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney, where he contributes to teaching postgraduate students in research methods. Dr Steffens is currently supervising several higher degree students and is actively involved in The University of Sydney MD Program.

Dr Steffens research skills and interest includes conducting clinical trials, systematic reviews, measuring risk factors and exploring prognosis and prevention strategies for health related conditions. Dr Steffens is the Chief-Investigator of the PRIORITY Trial – An NHMRC funded trial investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a preoperative exercise and education program on the reduction of postoperative complication in patients undergoing advanced gastrointestinal cancer surgery.

Tel: (02) 9515 3203
Email: daniel.steffens@health.nsw.gov.au



                       Ms Madhu Prasad Dip Telecom Engineering, Dip Travel & Tourism/Secretarial Studies – Administrative Officer

Ms Prasad joined SOuRCe in August 2009 as an administrative assistant, having held similar positions with the Registrar’s office at the University of the South Pacific and the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Sydney. Madhu has a detailed understanding of administrative policy and procedures relating to research, purchasing, finance and governance within both the SLHD and the University of Sydney which is invaluable to streamline SOuRCe’s operations across both organisations for staff and students. Given the dispersed nature of most of SOuRCe’s affiliates and collaborators, Madhu’s skilful coordination and liaison is crucial for the group’s success. Madhu provides a central point of communication and liaison, co-ordinates meetings and conferences, manages the office and research resources, develops and maintains records and archive systems, and assists students, surgeons and other researchers with administration of research grants, ethics applications, manuscripts and dissertations. Madhu is integral to the success of SOuRCe as a research and education centre.

Tel: (02) 9515 3200
Email: m.prasad@sydney.edu.au



                         Rebecca Venchiarutti BSc MNutrDiet

Rebecca has been the SOuRCe Research Officer since March 2017. She has been involved in several studies that fall under the Advanced Gastrointestinal Surgery Program at SOuRCe including cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC, pelvic exenteration, and upper GI surgery, as well as the flagship CONNECT program. Since mid-2018, Rebecca has been the RPAH Implementation Lead for the Hide and Seek Project, led by the Cancer Council NSW, an implementation science project aiming to improve detection of colorectal cancer patients at risk of Lynch syndrome.

Rebecca is also a final year PhD candidate at the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Her thesis, submitted for examination in January 2021, explores pathways to diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer patients in NSW, Australia. Rebecca was supervised by Professors Jane Young, Jonathan Clark, Carsten Palme, and Michael Solomon.

Rebecca’s research interests lie in health services evaluation, cancer epidemiology, and variations in cancer care, with a particular interest in head and neck, and colorectal cancers. Her work aims to improve the cancer care pathway for patients and carers by assessing patient experiences after complex cancer surgery, pathways to diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and health service utilisation before and after cancer treatment.

Tel: (02) 9515 3209
Email: rebecca.venchiarutti@health.nsw.gov.au



                         Mr Sascha Karunaratne (BHlthSci(Hon)/MPhty)

Sascha joined SOuRCe in January 2017 as the Orthopaedic Research Officer. He graduated as a Physiotherapist from Western Sydney University after which he joined the team to assist in the formation Orthopaedic Surgical research program. Under the leadership of all surgeons within the department, Sascha co-ordinates multiple research databases and projects covering the areas of lower and upper limb surgery, robotic orthopaedics, sarcoma and the diabetic foot.

Sascha is concurrently pursuing his PhD in decision-making in total knee arthroplasty. His thesis is exploring the process patients, in collaboration with their medical team, follow when considering if knee arthroplasty is the best option for them. Through interviewing and evaluating response from patients, orthopaedics surgeons, rheumatologists, general practitioners and physiotherapists, his PhD hopes to identify the best process to assist patients in making informed decisions. Sascha is being supervised by Professor Michael Solomon, Professor Ian Harris, Professor Lyndal Trevena and Dr Mark Horsley

Tel: (02) 9515 3210
Email: Sascha.Karunaratne@health.nsw.gov.au



                        Ms Kadja Benicio (BPhty(Hons), MPhty)

Kadja joined SOuRCe in November 2019 as one of the Pelvic Exenteration Research Officers. She is a Physiotherapist graduated in Brazil at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte and completed a Masters of Physiotherapy with emphasis in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation in 2016. Prior to her work at SOuRCe, Kadja worked as a Physiotherapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care area. She has a great interest in public health and has been involved in research since 2011.

At SOuRCe, Kadja works alongside her colleague, Olivia, at the Pelvic Exenteration surgical department. They assist in the running and coordination of various studies. Kadja’s main responsibility is the management of the PESQI (Pelvic Exenteration Surgery Quality Improvement) database and the coordination of a large longitudinal study investigating the quality of life of patients after surgery.

Tel: (02) 9515 6406
Email: Kadja.Gomesbenicio@health.nsw.gov.au



                         Ms Olivia Fox (BPUBHLTHNUTR MGLOBHLTH)

Olivia joined SOuRCe in late 2019 as one of the Pelvic Exenteration Research Officers. The Pelvic Exenteration service at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has been operating for more than 25 years and has seen over 800 patients proceed through surgery. Olivia works alongside her colleague, Kadja, on a large longitudinal study aiming to investigate patient quality of life and clinical outcomes for this pelvic exenteration patient cohort. As part of her role at SOuRCe, Olivia also provides advice and technical support for additional research projects taking place within the pelvic exenteration program.

Olivia has recently completed her Masters of Global Health at the University of Sydney, and has previously completed a Bachelor of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Wollongong. Prior to joining SOuRCe, Olivia worked across a number of community based organisations focusing on implementing evidence based public health practice to strengthen health policy and improve health outcomes.

Tel: (02) 9515 3208
Email: Olivia.Fox1@health.nsw.gov.au



                         Ms Georgia Fisher  (B.App.Sc(Phty) – Hons I)

Georgia completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) in 2015 at the University of Sydney, graduating with first class honours. She then worked clinically for two years in a variety of inpatient settings including acute medical and acute surgical, however she developed a keen interest in rehabilitation, in which she chose to specialise. In her time in rehabilitation units she came across a number of patients with post-stroke unilateral neglect, for which she found limited clinical assessment and treatment options. This was the catalyst for starting her PhD in Physiotherapy, which aims to improve the clinical assessment of sensorimotor impairment after stroke and is due for submission in February 2021. Nearing the end of her degree, Georgia wished to gain a broader research experience and joined the SOuRCe team in September 2020 as the Vascular Research Officer.

At SOuRCe Georgia is working with the Vascular Research Team, assisting in coordinating a range of studies. Her main responsibility is the development and management of databases tracking outcomes of patients undergoing vascular surgical procedures, along with a pilot study examining biomarkers in patients with endoleak after endovascular aneurysm repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Tel: (02) 9515 3206
Email: Georgia Fisher@health.nsw.gov.au



                         Ms Jenna Bartyn BHlthSci, MPH

Jenna recently joined SOuRCe as the PRIORITY Trial Research Officer in December 2020. Her role involves assisting with the coordination of the study, which focuses on a preoperative exercise and education program for patients undergoing surgery for major advanced or recurrent gastrointestinal cancer.

Jenna has completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Indigenous Health) and a Master of Public Health from the University of Wollongong. She has an interest in health promotion and public health. Jenna gained a passion for conducting research whilst completing her postgraduate studies, and has continued to develop her research experience being involved in research projects at different institutions. Jenna is interested in further developing her research skills and experiencing how programs can improve individuals’ quality of life.

Tel: (02) 9515 3207
Email: Jenna.Bartyn@health.nsw.gov.au



                         Ms Nicole Jade Gonzaga BPubHlth Epi

Nicole joined SOuRCe early 2021 as the Peritonectomy Research Program’s Research Officer. The Peritonectomy Research Program aims to provide comprehensive data to support the understanding of the surgical outcomes, quality of life and cost effectiveness. Nicole is supporting the coordination of the Peritonectomy Research Program and is involved in data management, planning, implementation of surgical research studies conducted within SOuRCe and the Institute of Academic Surgery (IAS).

Nicole is a final year Masters of Global Health student at the University of New South Wales. She has also completed Bachelor of Public Health – Epidemiology at the University of Wollongong awarded in 2017.  Prior to SOuRCe, Nicole has worked across many sectors such as NPS Medicine Wise, Surf Life Saving Australia and The University of Sydney’s Translational Australian Clinical Toxicology Research Group. She has extensive experience in governance of sensitive datasets, project management and clinical epidemiology. Her experience in research within injury prevention, mental health, toxicology and drug and alcohol and now cancer research has all collectively aimed to improve big data governance, data collection methods and population service health approaches. Nicole’s interests lie in mixed methods research, clinical epidemiology, program evaluation, health economics and improving national and global health outcomes.

Tel: (02) 9515 3205
Email: Nicole.gonzaga@health.nsw.gov.au